As well as working as a Professional Organiser, Tracey Warren from Professional Organising Solutions is a sole parent to four sons. Read what she writes about a successful school routine.
- Prepare the night before.
- Have lunches packed and stored in the fridge.
- Have clothes for the next day ironed and laid out for younger children.
- Have extra equipment for sports, music lessons, excursions etc packed and ready to go.
- Have a convenient designated space in your home to collect the things you need to take with you. Ours is in the hallway next to the front door.
- I keep a colour-coded list of extra-curricular activities in a prominent place. It is reassuring to be able to refer to a checklist to make sure that you’ve got everything as you head out the door. It can also be used by children when they are old enough to get their own equipment ready.
- For younger children, have bath time the night before so that there is less to do in the morning. This won’t work for bed wetters, and adolescents should have morning showers once they get to the smelly stage.
- Deal with school correspondence on the day you receive it, immediately if possible. This will prevent anxiety-laden scrambles to find forms at the last minute.
- Have an age-appropriate bed time for each child. Children are much more co-operative in the morning if they aren’t tired and grumpy.
- #1 Rule: No screen time before school! Children need to concentrate on getting ready without distractions.
- If you have young children who still need a lot of help to get ready, try to finish your own preparations before it is time for them to get up. If you are dressed and ready to go you will be able to focus all of your attention on helping your little ones.
- Don’t call your child to get out of bed. Most children will ignore this, with the result that you will feel frustrated and possibly start the day with a shouting match. I physically pull each of my children out of bed each morning. That way I know that they are up, and they are up on time. I go into their room, say good morning, give them some kisses and cuddles, pull the covers off and gently pull them up. A lovely start to the day!
- Keep the morning routine simple and predictable. We start off with breakfast, then showers for the older kids, teeth, get dressed, put lunch in bag, hair, sunscreen, and then go.
- Aim to arrive at school early. Children enjoy having time to play with their friends before starting the day. This also makes allowance for things that can go wrong, such as a traffic jam on the way to school. Being early makes you feel relaxed, it is easier to get a park, and the feeling of calm may help your child to settle if they experience separation anxiety.
- Sometimes things will go wrong. When this happens, don’t panic! Try to improvise. If you aim to get to school early each day, you will have a time buffer there. I keep a hairbrush and sunscreen in the car, so if someone has been dragging their feet, they can perform those tasks on the journey.
Getting children ready for school each day involves a lot of work. I hope that some of these tips will help to take some of the stress out of your mornings.
If you would like some professional help to become better organised, please give Tracey a call on 0423 694 452.